How Can I Combat Stigma if I Don’t Have a Mental Illness?
It's not just those of us with mental illness who combat or want to combat mental health stigma. People in our support systems and others who may not have a connection to mental illness often want to do something as well. Maybe it's a matter of not knowing what to do or where to start, maybe it's something else. Whatever it is, if you fall into those categories, this post with tips to combat stigma is for you.
Those Without Mental Illness Combat Stigma, Too
When it comes to mental illness, I usually see myself as the one doing the talking and advocacy work and those in my support system as backing me. The other day, though, I was thinking how our support networks are equally as important when we combat stigma, as are other people who want to help without having a connection to mental illness.
I've mentioned the ripple effect of the people in my life knowing about my disorders previously, but I'm thinking about it differently this time. This time, I'm thinking about a more active role, which may or may not have already existed without me realizing it.
Our loved ones often want to be able to do something to combat stigma as well and I'm sure there are plenty of others who'd like to make a difference, too. Supporting those of use with mental illness when we need a soft, safe place to fall is a great start, but for those who want to do more, what can you do?
4 Ways to Combat Stigma If You Don't Have a Mental Illness
I'm going to preface my suggestions with this: always ask before sharing someone else's story. Personal stories are a great tool when talking about mental illness, but not everyone is comfortable having his or hers known. It's always best to double check.
Many suggestions I've made in other blog posts apply to those with or without mental illness, but here is a short list to get you started.
- Talk about mental illness. Having the conversations we do not only normalizes the fact that our brains get sick but also educations others, even if only in passing. Sometimes the smallest comments can leave the biggest impressions.
- Learn as much as you can. The more you know, the more you're able to share.
- Participate in mental health efforts. Whether it's sharing a link or taking part in a public event, these are great ways to combat mental illness stigma.
- Ask how you can help or contribute. If you have a loved one who lives with mental illness, ask what you can do to take on stigma.
To finish up, I'd like to take a moment to say we appreciate all you do to combat stigma. Whether you are a part of our support circle or someone else helping combat mental health stigma, your efforts are invaluable. Mental health stigma is not easy to take on. Please know if you're ever in need, we're here for you, too.
Barton, L. (2018, August 31). How Can I Combat Stigma if I Don’t Have a Mental Illness?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivingmentalhealthstigma/2018/8/how-can-i-combat-stigma-if-i-dont-have-a-mental-illness